The Dangerous Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

 

Over our past 25-years of dentistry in Houston, many of our patients have asked if there’s something we can do for a family members snoring. While snoring is not unusual, loud snoring – especially when there are stages of infrequent breathing patterns – may be a sign of sleep apnea and something that needs to be treated.

The Dangerous Health Risks of Sleep Apnea:

With sleep apnea, a person repeatedly stops breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a number of serious health issues such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes, depression, heart problems, memory problems, weight gain, headaches, impotence an irregular heartbeat and of course heart attack.

Sleep Apnea

How do You Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

In the past, diagnosing sleep apnea required going to a sleep lab and staying overnight to have a polysomnography test performed. However, with today’s technology you can take the polysomnography test from the comfort of your own home with a Home Sleep Test (HST). The test monitors your muscle activity, heart rhythm, eye movements and brain activity during sleep. In addition to the convenience and comfort of an HST, the home sleep apnea tests are a fraction of the cost of traditional testing.
The polysomnograpy produces a reading called the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI), which is an index for the severity of sleep apnea. The AHI reading have a range as follows:

5-20 – Mild| 21-50 – Moderate | Above 50 – Severe

How do You Treat Sleep Apnea?

Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated safely and effectively. As your dentist, we are in a position to diagnose and possibly help treat your condition. In mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, we would fit you with a small mouth piece that you would wear while you sleep. If your sleep apnea is severe you may need another type of treatment, and with your permission, we can share your test results and our recommendations to your general physician or another qualified physician.

Be Aware of the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:

• Snoring loud enough to disturb the sleep of others or yourself.
• Waking up with a sore or dry throat.
• On occasion waking up choking or gasping.
• Being tired during the day.
• Insomnia or frequently waking up during the night.

Don’t Let This Potentially Life Threatening Condition go Untreated!

If you or a loved one is struggling with sleep apnea, don’t put it off. The health risks are far too great, and today’s diagnosis and treatment options are simple, effective, and in many cases covered by insurance.
The Royal Dental team in Houston, Texas has been helping Houstonians smile straight, bright and healthy since 1992, and now we want to make sure you’re sleeping as healthy as possible! For more information on Sleep Apnea, get in touch with us by calling (713) 330-7700 or by filling out this contact form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you out!

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